CNN Cuts Ties With Kathy Griffin on 'New Year's Eve' Show After Trump Photo Stunt
"I went way too far," said Griffin, who says she will ask photographer Tyler Shields to take down the image.
Kathy Griffin has stepped back from her new piece of shock performance art.
The stand-up comedian has now apologized for her photograph, featuring her holding a depiction of President Donald Trump's bloodied head in one still of a controversial new photo shoot.
The image, published Tuesday by TMZ, is from a new project by controversial photographer Tyler Shields, who routinely shoots A-list celebrities in shocking poses, including Lindsay Lohan, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Demi Lovato and many more for his 2013 book The Dirty Side of Glamour.
Kathy Griffin Beheads Donald Trump in Shocking Photo Shoot (PHOTO) https://t.co/UM9GHRrFf5— TMZ (@TMZ) May 30, 2017
Following intense online backlash, Griffin apologized for the images, despite initially defending them. "I sincerely apologize," she said in a video on Twitter. "I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people, it wasn't funny, I get it."
She added, begging for everyone's forgiveness, that she will ask the photographer to take down the image.
I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/LBKvqf9xFB— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 30, 2017
The actress had previously shared the photo on her own social media account, praising Shields and suggesting the caption read, "There was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his...wherever." Griffin said she obviously does not "condone ANY violence by my fans or others to anyone" and is "merely mocking the Mocker in Chief." She has since deleted those tweets.
Griffin is well known for co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve special with Anderson Cooper. On Wednesday, a statement from the network said: "CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year's Eve program."
Another network statement added in part, "We found what [Griffin] did disgusting and offensive. We are pleased to see she has apologized and asked that the photos be taken down."
Cooper had tweeted, "For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate."
Trump reacted via Twitter early Wednesday, saying: "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"
In her own statement, Melania Trump said, "When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it." She added that as a mother, wife and "a human being," the photo is "very disturbing."
Donald Trump Jr. was one of many critics who first spoke out against the images. "Disgusting but not surprising," he tweeted. "This is the left today. They consider this acceptable. Imagine a conservative did this to Obama as POTUS?" Debra Messing, an avid Hillary Clinton supporter during the campaign, also took issue with Griffin's photo shoot, tweeting, "It wasn't right when peoplel [sic] hung lynched Obama effigies, just as what Kathy Griffin did isn't right now." Chelsea Clinton also took offense to the photos, tweeting, "This is vile and wrong. It is never funny to joke about killing a president."
Squatty Potty, a Utah-based bathroom products company, also suspended its ad campaign featuring Griffin "to demonstrate our commitment to a culture of decency, civility, and tolerance." CEO Bobby Edwards said in a statement Tuesday that the photo "was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”
Griffin has been outspoken in her condemnation of Trump throughout the campaign. Griffin was seen raising her middle finger at former Fox News host Megyn Kelly when she made hopeful remarks about Trump at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Women in Entertainment event in December. She also told the president to "f— off" in a spoof of one of Hillary Clinton's anti-bullying ads.
This is not the first time one of Shields' shoots has caused an uproar. In 2011, Glee actress Heather Morris was featured in a shoot with a black eye and bruises, which drew controversy for what some considered to be a glamorization of domestic violence.
May 31, 10:30 am PST Updated headline and article with statement from CNN cutting ties with Griffin for its New Year's Eve special.